What are the basic functions that a good wood hand saw should have? What types of accessories or sheets are the most suitable?
Handheld circular saws are one of the most common and versatile tools in the DIY and woodworking world. Precisely because of this there is a world of possibilities and configurations: types of saw, powers, speeds or sizes are some of the variables that we must know in order to make a good choice when buying a tool of this type.
Basic notions for circular saws
The objective of this tool is to make straight, fast and relatively precise cuts along a surface, usually boards, although it can also be used for masonry, tiles, plastics …
The basic components that we must know when choosing the best circular saw are:
- Depth control. Not all the wooden boards that we cut have the same thickness, so it is necessary to be able to regulate the depth of the cut by adjusting the height of the saw.
- Tilt adjustment. It allows adjusting the inclination of the saw with respect to the tabletop to make cuts at different angles of 90º.
- Saw guard. It is a metal cover that covers the saw when it is not in use and contracts when we are making a cut.
- Plate or base. It is a piece of metal, with a flat surface, which rests on the board when cutting with the hand circular saw and allows the cut to be completely straight.
- Saw blade. It consists of a circular blade that can have different sizes and be made of different materials depending on the use that is going to be given to it.
Cordless or cordless circular saw?
This decision is largely conditioned by where the tool is to be used. If we are going to be in a place where it is difficult to access the electricity grid, we will certainly opt for one with a battery, however the decision is not usually that easy.
Disadvantages of cordless circular saws
- Battery weight. The saws that carry a battery are heavier, since the weight of these must be added, and therefore the maneuverability is reduced. Although on the other hand they are usually smaller so it is compensated on some occasions.
- Autonomy. The autonomy of the batteries is always limited, and this is a tool that consumes a lot of energy. Therefore they are not ideal for prolonged use without access to electrical current.
- Power. It will always be less than that of those that we can plug in and its use is not recommended in materials with greater resistance than wood. If we used it on harder materials, the result might not be ideal and the battery consumption would be even higher.
- Price. Cordless circular saws are indisputably more expensive.
- Battery replacement cost. Virtually all batteries that use this type of tool, including drills, screwdrivers, etc., have a number of cycles or limited uses, so that over time they will have to be replaced. When this point arrives, you will first have to find spare parts, which is not always easy, and then you will have to evaluate their cost.
Therefore, a cordless circular saw can be interesting and above all very comfortable in very specific situations and when it is not used intensively.
Now is the time to compare features or capabilities
- Power. The more watts (W) the better, more precise cuts and in harder materials.
- Saw blade capacity. The larger the saw, the greater the depth of cut, although on the other hand the smaller the saw, the lighter it will be and easier to control.
- Electric brake. Having this capacity allows the saw to stop in 2 or 3 seconds after releasing the button, while otherwise it may take up to 10 times longer.
- Circular leaf anchor. There are different methods of fixing the saw blade, some faster than others.
- Cutting angle capacity. Depending on the use that we are going to give the tool, we may be interested in having the possibility of making cuts at more pronounced angles.
- Guide. In order to make the cuts as straight as possible, we can find saws that only have a mark on the base and others that even have a laser that is projected onto the wood.
Once we have opted for the saw, it is time to choose the blade, an equally important decision, perhaps more. There are many types, these are the most common:
- Steel sheets. They are the most economical and are used mainly in soft woods. They wear out quickly on other materials and hardwoods.
- High speed steel. Similar to the previous ones but with greater resistance. Its use on hard materials is still not recommended.
- Carbon. Carbon is added to the tips of the saw allowing greater strength and precision. Its use is recommended in addition to soft woods, chipboards and some metals such as aluminum and copper.
- Polycrystalline diamond (PCD). In this case, the blade is highly resistant and can be used on practically any material.
What brands usually offer good products?
Brands are continually releasing new models, all with different features. Therefore making a classification in which to establish which is the best hand circular saw can be a task that quickly becomes obsolete.
Therefore, it is preferable to consult brands that we know make good products, and with the information we provide here, make the best choice for us. Bosch, Makita, Dewalt, Festool, Skill or Einhell all offer good saws.